USA (Portland), April 10, 2010
thrashmonkey, on april 16, 2010 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: I will start by saying this was the best show I have ever seen, and that's no joke. Just like dinosaurs live on today in birds, vikings live on in Amon Amarth. The Swedes were just as ferocious in a live setting as I had heard they were. The direct supporters were Eluveitie, who, for those who don't know, are a Swiss folk metal/melodic death hybrid that has eight people in the band (two of them being female) and uses a flute, a violin, and a hurdy-gurdy, as well as the usual metal instruments. I had just been getting into them when I heard they would be at the show too, making it even better. The openers were Holy Grail, a kick-ass young New Wave of British Heavy Metal revival band from Pasadena, who I've also seen opening for 3 Inches of Blood, so I was a big fan of all the bands at the show. Amon Amarth's mix was excellent. I could hear everything, and Johan Hegg's growls were loud in the mix, as they should be. Eluveitie had the guitars and bass turned up a little too loud, but their mix was alright. I could hear the many other instruments. Holy Grail, as good as they were, didn't have a very good mix, from where I was standing at least. I couldn't hear the singer very well at all, and that was a damn shame, because he is great. However, they still played very well. Fredrik Andersson from AA (Amon Amarth, not Alcoholics Anonymous) played Tama drums and Zildjian cymbals, and guitarist Johan Soderberg played what was in my opinion the coolest guitar I have ever seen in my life, a black Gibson Explorer with an iron plate on part of the body. // 9
Perfomance: The audience was one of the most devoted crowds of people I have ever seen, let alone been a part of (the only thing topping it was the Iron Maiden fans in India, Japan, and Central and South America in Flight 666). If Johan had asked them to, they probably would have followed him into battle or torched Portland for him. There was a massive banner of the Twilight of the Thunder God album cover as the stage backdrop throughout the whole show. I'm including the setlists in the order that the bands played.
On the off chance that anyone familiar with Holy Grail is reading this, here was their setlist:
01. Immortal Man: the first track off their Improper Burial EP and a great way to start the show. Kind of like something you'd hear from Saxon or Diamond Head with a modern twist.
02 and 03. They then played 2 songs off their upcoming album (entitled Crisis in Utopia) that as of this writing no one knew except them, but they worked great as a preview. I'll be buying the album for sure.
04. Call of Valhalla: a great song, a little slower than their others, but still in the classic NWOBHM vein.
05. A great cover of Fast as a Shark by Accept. It was this song that turned me into a fan (they played it the last time I saw them), and I was singing along the words throughout the whole thing.
06. Fight to Kill: in my opinion their best song and a great way to finish their set.
Soon after that Eluveitie came on stage following an intro that in some parts sounded like it was lifted right from Braveheart. Here is their setlist to the best of my memory.
01. Thousandfold: the lead single off their new album, Everything Remains as it Never Was and an excellent opener.
02. Bloodstained Ground: a really hard basher and possibly my favorite Eluveitie song ever. Very glad they played this.
03. Gray Sublime Archon.
04. Inis Mona: another candidate for my favorite Eluveitie song.
05. Quoth the Raven: off their new album, so I was kinda expecting it. A great song nonetheless.
06. (Do)Minion: another one off their new album. Before this Chrigel Glanzmann (the singer) incited a big circle pit.
07. I know they played something else here, but I can't remember what it was. Slania's Song maybe? They went straight from one song to another, so it was sometimes hard to know where one ended and the other began. If anyone on here was at the show, feel free to say something if you know what song it was.
08. Tegernako. Their epic set-closer.
After Eluveitie's set, we all got really impatient for Amon Amarth. Soon, the stage went dark, and fog started pouring on the stage over an intro. The fog slowly dispersed, and the viking warriors took the stage.
01. Twilight of the Thunder God: an amazing, crushingly heavy opener, the title track of their most recent album, and one of their greatest songs.
02. Free Will Sacrifice: never the hugest fan of the song before, but since I saw them play it, I love it.
03. Valkyries Ride: Johan said, "this one's for the ladies" (the Valkyries were the princesses of Valhalla in Norse legend).
04. Asator: a short brutal burst of energy and another of their best songs. The first of the night from With Oden on Our Side.
05. Varyags of Miklagaard.
06. The Dragon's Flight Across the Waves: not their best song in my opinion, but they had to pick something from their first album, and I guess this was it. No matter my opinions on the song, they played it well.
07. Guardians of Asgaard: this sent the audience into a frenzy. A great song off Twilight of the Thunder God and one of their heaviest ever. Johan dedicated it to their bassist Ted Lundstrom, who couldn't make it to the first dates of the tour (they had someone else filling in.)
08. Under the Northern Star: wasn't really expecting this one. It's quite a bit slower that most of the others they played, but a great one nonetheless.
09. Tattered Banners and Bloody Flags: as soon as we heard the marching intro, we all went berserk.
10. Valhall Awaits Me: one of my personal favorite Amon Amarth songs. Very happy that they played it.
11. Death in Fire: a true Amon Amarth classic. The fans loved it.
12. Runes to My Memory: a fan favorite and a staple of any Amon Amarth show.
13. ...And Soon the World will Cease to Be: a forgotten gem off Versus the World. Was not expecting it but glad they played it.
14. Live for the Kill: a fine choice as the closer of their main set.
Everyone knew that they weren't done, though. They hadn't played two of their biggest songs, and soon, as we expected, they came out for an Encore and played them.
15. Cry of the Black Birds: one of their most famous songs and a crowd favorite.
16. The Pursuit of Vikings: if Amon Amarth has an anthem, this is it. A great way to finish off a truly amazing show. // 9
Overall Impression: The show was at the Hawthorne Theater in Portland Oregon (USA) on April 10, 2010. The venue was so small, it only could fit 500 people (the show sold out). It was just the three bands, so they each got a decent amount of time to play. I was right up front and at the left of the stage, and I fist-bumped Johan Hegg and Johan Soderberg, and Soderberg gave me a guitar pick. As Ted Lundstrom wasn't there, Steve Drennan from fellow Swedish melodic death metallers Engel filled in, and he did a great job of it. All the bands threw out water bottles into the crowd, and they were greedily guzzled by whoever got their hands on them first. I was right in front of one of those little speakers that they have in the middle of the stage, and while headbanging I bashed my head on it, kind of a fun if painful moment. I think the ticket was $20, and it was well worth the money. If any of the bands ever comes near where I live again, I'll go for sure. It was an unforgettable show. // 10